Prime Minister The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern visited AUT to unveil the plaque and officially open our newest building WZ - Ngā Wai Hono.
As the world around us changes and evolves, so too must the way we teach and learn in tertiary institutions. AUT’s latest state-of-the-art building in the City Campus, which houses the School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS), is designed to provide for this evolution.
The building’s te reo name, Ngā Wai Hono, which roughly translates to “the confluence”, depicts the merging and welling-up of water sources - akin to the co-mingling and flow of knowledge that students will share with the world. The name also references the historic wells that were discovered during WZ’s construction.
“New generations of curious students will explore ideas in this space, and these ideas and innovations will expand out into the world,” the Prime Minister said.
The building is designed to be an integral part of the practical, handson teaching and learning central to AUT’s mission to produce career- and world-ready graduates. Theoretical lessons are brought to life when students engage with exposed sections of the building’s structure and services, providing practical examples to support engineering theory and enabling students to test the concepts they learn.
“Students learning here will learn to be creative - and this creativity will set us [as a country] apart.”Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Students are able to view the systems of the building in action, and use them for research and data collection. Examples include a system which controls the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment, and another which controls the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning. There are also structure and testing labs and a seismic shake table that will help AUT with world-class research in these areas.
AUT also designed the building with a collaborative experience for students in mind – in the real world, IT experts, engineers and mathematicians often work together in most major businesses. Having students from these different programmes under one roof allows for more collaboration, research and networking.
Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack said the building was needed due to the great increase in students pursuing STEM subjects at AUT.
“In 2008 we had just over 1,200 students studying toward a degree or postgraduate qualification in engineering, computer and mathematical sciences, last year we had more than 3,600. Our forecasting shows this growth is set to continue due to government push but also a shortage in these industries in New Zealand.”
Environmental sustainability is also a key element, as with all new AUT buildings, and this is reflected through the high efficiency building services.
The $120 million building is part of a $250 million budget which has also seen a new building at South Campus built to meet the growing demand for tertiary education in South Auckland and will see a new development on AUT’s North Campus in the future.